Contemporary British menswear designer Oliver Spencer has teamed up with heritage Italian sportswear giant Fila on a limited edition 19-piece collection launching today on MR PORTER, as well as on each brand’s website.
It’s perhaps not the most likely collaboration, but Spencer believes it’s not as far-flung as people might imagine. He said: “To me it was quite an obvious thing to do because it was very juxtaposed to where we’re at. Our type of contemporary menswear and sportswear have been fusing together massively because that’s what we wore in lockdown – and even before.
“Besides, I don’t like to do obvious collaborations. I like them to be eye-catching and a bit different. It’s an elevated Fila collection through my eyes. The collection feels very nostalgic, yet modern while using all of our sustainable credentials.”
Fila initially approached Spencer about a collaboration possibility, then somebody told him to watch The Royal Tenenbaums and, after watching it, Spencer was inspired. He then spoke with MR PORTER and they liked the sound of it too. The clothing in the film is very 1970’s and the character of Richie Tenenbaum (played by Luke Wilson) wears Fila, like Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg famously did in his heyday.
Spencer said: “That struck a nostalgic note. I actually loved doing the collection. The key piece is the polo shirt, which is in a specially developed terry-towel corduroy that’s super-soft. It feels very retro. On the outside it’s branded as Fila, and on the inside label it’s branded as Fila x Oliver Spencer, which is very us.”
The price points are certainly more elevated than regular Fila pricing, more in line with Oliver Spencer’s as it’s an altogether more luxurious offer. For example, polo shirts are retailing at £130, sweatshirts are £120 and tracksuit tops are £160. Add to that it’s been shot by photographer to the stars, Rankin.
So, who’s the target market? “I think there’s a lot of kids out there that might enjoy a new look at Fila from a luxurious standpoint. Then there will be a lot of older guys who think ‘god, I need one right now!’ Especially the old casuals. There isn’t much of it though, it’s a very limited production run, so it’s not going to last long.”
In a nod to Fila tennis style made famous by Björn Borg in the late 70’s and early 80’s, it’s fitting that the Fila x Oliver Spencer collection launches today on men’s semi-final day at Wimbledon. “We thought that was quite appropriate,” added Spencer. “More than anything else, it’s fun. And right now, after the year we’ve all had, we need a bit of fun!”
On a more serious, but also very positive note, Oliver Spencer will be contributing 10% of sales towards the MR PORTER Health In Mind Fund, powered by Movember – a fundraising and content initiative dedicated to helping men lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.